Pee-wee Herman star Paul Reubens has died at the age of 70.
A statement on Monday (31 July), which was shared on the actor's official Instagram account, confirmed that Reubens was 'bravely and privately' fighting cancer for a number of years.
It read: "Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness.
"Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit.
"A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit."
Before starring in movies and TV series during the 1980s, the Pee-wee Herman character developed as a stage act that quickly led to an HBO special in 1981.
Following the release of the 1985 motion picture came Pee-wee's Playhouse, an Emmy Award-winning children's series that ran on CBS from 1986 to 1990, which proved to be a huge success.
However, due to negative media attention in 1991, the character took a long break from TV.
Netflix's Pee-wee's Big Holiday in 2016 marked its return.
Taking to social media, colleagues and fans have been paying tribute to the late actor.
Judd Apatow wrote: "This is devastating news. We got to spend many years working with Paul on Pee Wee’s Big Holiday and got to see his genius and kindness up close.
"He made the world so happy! Some of the biggest laughs I have every experienced was watching him perform live. He is irreplaceable."
"Thank you for making the world a better place, Paul!" commented one fan.
A fan added: "Devastated. An icon. A savior. Made space for weird kids growing up into a true hell that humor would help us navigate. Thank you Paul. Thank you Pee-wee."
Another heartbroken fan said: "No. This is not allowed to happen. He brought so much joy to so many people for so many years.
"One of my true delights was seeing the daily Instagram posts from all over the world, spreading positivity and smiles across all races and genders.
"Thank you for the memories Paul, from the Blues Brothers, to your Big Adventures, to the Playhouse, to Buffy, to today."Featured Image Credit: Mike Pont/WireImage/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic